|"Bessie & Hazel" - photo by Nick Amatelli|
Reflection and rest - something we all need. Reflecting on what has allowed us to become the people we are today; resting in the knowledge that all of God's mercy and grace has led us to that point. Yes, mercy and grace - here - now - right where we are!!!
It's called putting a "positive spin" on what can only be described as terrible! But in those moments, something sparks your memory of a time when you didn't think you'd survive THAT tragedy and yet you managed to pull through and came through it stronger!
Growing up, I had some very significant role models. My Mom and Dad (obviously) but there were two other women in my life who were, without a doubt, my best friends through what I then saw as the "toughest time in my life" (little did I know...).
If you've read my book, you know that I became pregnant right out of high school and there was no husband in my immediate future. Most of my "friends" walked away, leaving me with two old (well, they seemed old to me at the time) women. My father's mother had long since moved to Florida and I can honestly say that I really never knew her, had a relationship with her or received a birthday card or phone call from her. My mother's mother - priceless!!! She was the "Nana" I knew I wanted to be (and I really hope Mikhaela feels about me someday the way I feel about Nana to this day).
She and her sister, my Aunt Hazel, made me laugh, smile and taught me much about life without even realizing they were teaching me anything. They loved me no matter what and were without a doubt priceless treasures lent to me by God. Long gone from this world, they remain two of the most influential people I have ever had the privilege to call "family".
Their courage and strength (as I see it from this point in my life) surpasses any award for bravery ever given. My grandmother buried a baby and three husbands (two of them dying very terrible deaths). My aunt buried a husband and lost a son during WWII. They never seemed bitter, they never wore their loss on their sleeve for the world to see...they looked at what God had so freely given them - their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I can honestly say I don't ever remember them lamenting over their losses...always what was ahead! They lived life!
God gives each of us an opportunity to either wallow in self pity or rejoice in the promise of a new day. Sometimes it's hard to look beyond the pain we are in, the tragedy that we perceive to be insurmountable, and in that lies our strength!
Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. (Prov 17:6 KJV) - we are the children of the King - we are HIS glory and thus, we are His pride and joy! He has nothing but the best laid out ahead of us - He has called us by name and we are His!!! Move forward in this world with the strength and stamina that "Nana and Aunt Hazel" constantly portrayed - move ahead in FAITH!!!